While there are myriad book series featuring wallflowers who make a pact with sister wallflowers vowing never to wed, you won’t see the stories delivered any better than this. This author delivers a well-integrated set-up for the series along with a sigh-worthy romance. The writing is outstanding, the characters are quirky, witty, and wonderful, and the romance – well … you just really need to read it.
Miss Hannah Bexley, the only child of Baron Westwich, is beautiful, vivacious, kind, thoughtful, intelligent and any other positive adjectives you’d like to apply to her. The thing is, she doesn’t see herself that way. She sees herself as a hoyden because that is what the ton tells her she is – they say her red hair is garish, her laugh is too loud and free, her exuberance is unladylike, she talks too much, etc. She’s come to honestly believe all of those things about herself because in the three years she’s been ‘out’, she hasn’t had even one suitor. She’s had hope a couple of times, but the men never followed through – and they broke her heart. Now, she is determined never to marry, and will happily move forward toward the pact she made with her friends from Lady Finch’s Finishing School. Hannah and her four very dearest friends, Lady Elizabeth, Amy Honeyfield, Lucy Beauchamp, and Lady Jillian, all signed a pact never to marry. They would live their lives as they wished and wouldn’t be anyone’s property. They’d live on their own country estate that would have a fully stocked kitchen for Amy to bake, an art room for Lady Jillian, a music room for Lucy, a huge library for Lady Elizabeth, and carriages Hannah can drive for herself.
Lucien Lambert, the Earl of Brightstone, is definitely NOT the brightest, shiniest star in the ton. He is bookish, studious, quiet, unfashionable, never knows what to say – and when he does say something, it is the wrong thing. His overbearing mother is constantly at him to marry, but he has no desire to do so. Women find him undesirable. He knows he’ll have to marry – and when he sees this beautiful young woman climbing his gate, breaking the gate, and ending up in the mud with her skirts above her knees – well, he is definitely intrigued. He decides to ask her to help him ‘improve’ himself so he can find a bride. She is the daughter of Baron Westwich, his neighbor, and definitely lacks decorum, but she intrigues him. She doesn’t want to marry though. Mmmmmm – I wonder how that is going to work out.
Misunderstandings and miscommunications abound in this wonderfully written opposites-attract novel. But, of course, love conquers all and we have a sigh-worthy HEA along with a beautifully written epilogue. You absolutely cannot go wrong by reading this novel.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.